Downtown Tucson has had a real awakening. The Rio Nuevo development district has done a lot to encourage new restaurants and entertainment downtown and along parts of Broadway. Now there are two high end spots in the works.

In the past few years downtown Tucson has gone from.mostly going to sleep after sunset to a busy, happening place. Now there’s news of some new additions bringing a new sort of style here.

The Fox Theater is headed for a renovation and major expansion that will attract even more people to a lively downtown.

But no one expects people to go just to the Fox and go home. Thats an opportunity for new and existing businesses nearby.

Two new ones going next to the Fox aim to offer an infusion of class.

Platform 18 is designed to make you feel like youre on a luxury railroad car. The Grey Hen aims to put you in a classic New Orleans Apothecary, but serving high end cocktails.

Brandt Hazen of Hazen Enterprises has joined with Barter and Shake of Phoenix to develop the new spots.

I think one year from now youll see just about everything opened down there. Were building some really nice apartment lofts up in the third story which I think Tucson will really welcome as well.

There are already several restaurants in the building Brandt Hazen bought for the project. But the Grey Hen and Platform 18 are not meant to displace them. They are all part of the attraction to make Tucsons downtown a great place thats becoming greater.

One of those restaurants is Perche No Italian Bistro. Krissy Girardi and her husband own the restaurant. She says, We knew about the Fox and we were really excited about just new things happening in this area. Its gonna bring more people into this area which is going to be great for us. Our new landlords seem wonderful. Were very excited about the ideas that they have for this area and this part of the building, just upgrades and keeping everything exciting around here.

The Rio Nuevo Development district committed about one and a half million dollars in incentives to help stimulate this project. Rio Nuevo says it enabled 19 new restaurants last year through assistance and incentives, with the expectation those businesses will repay that investment many times with what they pour back into the local economy.



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